South African comic book artist Warren Louw, known for his work on Green Lanterns, was listed as a guest of the Emerald City Comic Con, taking place in Seattle right now. But he won't be attending, nor following up with C2E2 and WonderCon, shows he was also a guest over the following month. He posted the news on Instagram.
It is with great sadness to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances I will no longer be attending ECCC, C2E2 and Wondercon. To all my fans who wanted to meet me, I am deeply sorry. The situation is out of my control but I will do all I can to be back in the USA to attend comic conventions.
There are lots of reasons people may not attend comic conventions, often down to personal family reasons, work conflicts or even fallen-apart travel plans. But posting on Laura Braga's Instagram feed, he wrote,
You too huh… I got refused in Seattle and am in my way back to SA now… Struggling with wifi to upload a post to IG about it.
Refused entry to the USA? Because, yes, Laura Braga, known for her work on Wonder Woman, Iron Man and the upcoming Harley & Ivy meet Betty & Veronica who would have been traveling to the US from Italy as a guest of ECCC and C2E2 seemed to have a similar Instagram post.
As you will have read on the website, my appearances at #ECCC and #C2E2 is canceled. The causes are out of my control, I'm very sad and I apologize to all people who were waiting for these events.
I hope we will solve the problems very soon! Thank you all for your understanding <3
And they were not alone. Mirka Andolfo also of Italy, creator of the Image Comics series Unnatural seemed to have a similar experience. She was meant to be attending ECCC and C2E2…
But no longer. She posted to Facebook:
And I have also had it confirmed to me that [REDACTED], another creator from Italy, has been refused entry and is not at ECCC as a result.
Naturally, people are not that keen to share details. This could be US border officials taking issue with comic book creators travelling on personal rather than business/work visas, but this has been acceptable for comic book conventions for decades. That the rules and regulations are suddenly being tightened – and comic conventions' ability to attract international guests curtailed – does not bode well for the future.
Commiserations to all involved, and we hope that visits can be arranged and approved soon. And I hope that whatever happens with Brexit doesn't repeat this story for upcoming British comic book conventions…